Rotorua looks well placed to grasp future tourism opportunities after the release of Tourism Industry Aotearoa's Local Government Manifesto.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa's (TIA) manifesto for 2016 states communities across the country can reap even greater economic and social rewards from international and domestic visitors if councils grasp the opportunity.
TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said the manifesto highlighted the economic contribution domestic and international visitors were already making to regions in every part of the country.
Rotorua Lakes Council and tourism officials have said the district is well placed to take advantage of rising tourism numbers in the future.
"Tourism in New Zealand is an $82 million per day industry," Mr Roberts said.
"Only a fraction of that spending actually occurs in places commonly considered tourism specific, such as hotels and attractions - the balance takes place in cafes, bars, supermarkets, petrol stations, farmer's markets, vineyards and other local businesses."
Mr Roberts said tourism was enjoying record growth in both visitor numbers and value with much more to come.
"We are urging councils to capitalise on the strong projected growth by catering for visitors as well as residents in their planning and strengthening the local government and tourism partnership."
He said the TIA had identified eight priority actions for councils over the next two years.
"We are also encouraging tourism operators around the country to use the manifesto to lobby their local council and push for stronger recognition of tourism, the economic and social benefits it delivers communities and the opportunity it holds."
Rotorua Airport and Destination Rotorua chairman Peter Stubbs said Rotorua had an advantage in that it had a "degree of connectedness and alignment" other councils did not.
"The council has been very sure to get businesses working better together, that's why they have rolled up economic development and tourism together.
"Destination Rotorua have done such a good job in nurturing partnerships with tourism providers, you have civic leaders who want to make a difference, and what we are trying to do is to reach out into the business community, like the Chamber of Commerce and Waiariki polytech to try and make those connections work better for the benefit of Rotorua.
"In my experience focus and alignment always win," he said.
The council's strategy and partnerships group manager Jean-Paul Gaston said investment in the region's tourism industry was ongoing "most notably through our destination marketing arm, recognising tourism as a major economic driver for the district".
"Tourism is at the forefront of our thinking when it comes to future planning, economic strategies, improvements and new developments, events, assets and the planning and/or improvement of infrastructure.
"The council advocates on behalf of Rotorua for a local share of national investment into the likes of roading improvements, cycleways and economic growth.
"A big component of improvements currently underway in our inner city parks, and much of what is being done in the central city as part of council's inner city revitalisation portfolio, is ensuring Rotorua remains relevant to both domestic and overseas visitors," Mr Gaston said.
"In May the government announced it would be working with several regions, including Rotorua, to help match investors with locations for new hotel developments so we look forward to collaborating with the relevant government agencies on this and potentially helping to bring a new five-star hotel to the city.
"And in terms of events programming we are always looking for opportunities to add events to Rotorua's calendar that will help boost visitor numbers and bring economic benefits.
"The council is involved in many national and international events held in Rotorua and Crankworx is a great example of the council and community collaborating to bring an event which has huge international exposure. This year during the week of the event alone, that event boosted the local economy by $8 million.
"Wider, long-term spin-offs are anticipated and the council has underwritten that event to help ensure its success and potentially keep it in Rotorua beyond the current three-year contracted term."
Tourism Industry Aotearoa's Local Government Manifesto
- Destination Management
Look after and invest in the quality of their region as a destination.
- Infrastructure Facilitation
Invest in essential infrastructure and enable the private sector to develop infrastructure by minimising red tape.
- Events Programming
Events are one of the best tools for encouraging people to visit a community.
- Measuring Visitor Satisfaction
It's important to understand what visitors think of your community. If they are happy businesses can grow. If there is low satisfaction it can be addressed.
- Off-Peak Marketing
Attracting people to visit throughout the year will develop a sustainable visitor industry with more permanent jobs.
- Regional Development & Tourism
Tourism supports regional growth and needs to be incorporated into regional development strategies. It also complements a community's other industries, such as wine, horticulture and farming.
- Enabling Airport & Port Facility Development
Better connections through great air and cruise links are vital to growing tourism. If an airport or port is council-owned, long-term plans need to be aligned with tourism industry forecasts.
- Sustainable Tourism Positioning
Every region needs to demonstrate its commitment to look after its economic future and the resources it uses to operate.